We first posted about the awesome synthwave band, The Midnight, in our post, 21 New Songs That Totally Sound Like They’re From the 1980’s. We shared “Sunset“—the band’s tribute to anyone wanting to break free from the shackles of their home town and leave with their love, never to look back.
The music is pure synthesizer-infused 80’s nostalgia—you wouldn’t guess that it was released in 2016. But its retro layered synthesizers and chorus-laden guitars atop electronic drums will take you back to a simpler, less polarized world. The music is happy, hopeful, and honest (despite being an illusory trip back to the 80’s).
The band, formed by singer-songwriter Tyler Lyle and Danish-born producer Tim McEwan, is now a handful of shows into the North American leg of its tour. The Midnight is supporting the release of its new album, Kids, which should not disappoint fans of this band and the synthwave genre. Although a few have lamented in various Instagram comments about the lack of saxophone and the shorter length of the album, as well as lodged other complaints, one Instagram fan, cyber.soho, disagreed:
“In my opinion this hit the mark with the concept of being a kid, hanging out in the mall, all riding bikes to your friend’s house . . .”
The band itself responded: “themidnightofficial @cyber.soho you get it.”
For those fans who are sad about the lack of saxophone on the Kids album, I recommend you buy tickets to the band’s next show (if you can get them—their shows are sold out— you’ll likely have to go the secondary market route). You will hear some of the best 80’s-inspired saxophone—and a lot of it.
The Midnight Concert | The Bluebird Theater, Denver, Colorado
The Midnight played to a sold-out crowd at the historical Denver venue, The Bluebird Theater, on September 22, and by all accounts, they did not disappoint.
Opening the concert with “Youth”, the intro track on the Kids album, led—as it does on the album—right into “Wave”, a nostalgically-melodic tune that highlights Tyler Lyles’ easy, accessible vocals (with the ironically non-nostalgic line, “We are not a sentimental age.”) The capacity crowd cheered them into their next song, “Lost Boy”, one of their current singles—an airy 80’s ballad that will definitely take you to that heart-pounding love you felt when you looked into the eyes of your crush.
Honestly, there is something so familiar about this music, especially, perhaps, for those of us who grew up in the 80’s. The Midnight’s melodies and moods, with Tim McEwan‘s production talents, embrace you in a comfortable connection to your past.
Tyler and the band then took it back to their early beginnings with the driving beats of “Gloria”, with its crowd-pleasing—and singable—chorus:
I feel so much better
I feel so much better today
And it’s not the drugs
And it’s not the weather
I just feel so much better today
The similarly energetic title track of its 2014 debut EP—Days of Thunder—kept the crowd moving. An unexpected highlight followed as the band began playing the Don Henley hit, “Boys of Summer”, garnering cheers, whoops, and whistles. And of course, everyone in The Bluebird knew the lyrics. The Midnight did an admirable job on this classic cover, and it was the perfect selection to accompany the band’s sound.
They then moved through a series of crowd-pleasing songs from their earlier albums, the instrumental sounds of “Nocturnal”/“Collateral”, the pulsating “Shadows”, moody “Crystalline”, feel-good (and one of my favorites) “The Comeback Kid”, and city-gritty “Vampires”.
Lots of saxophone solos.
Lots of 80’s feels.
Back to the Kids album, the band played “America 2”, a song with an uber-nostalgic sound. Tyler Lyle has one of those voices that makes you feel like you’ve heard it a long time ago. He sounds a lot like Sam Bentley from The Paper Kites—especially his vocals on the twelvefour album. I think both Sam and Tyler would take that as a compliment.
The Midnight ended its set with “Los Angeles”, another supremely nostalgia-driven song from its Days of Thunder album. It’s the brand’s “love letter” anthem to living in L.A.:
Flickers of the canyon fire
Its hands raised like a gospel choir
If we live forever, let us live forever tonight
Helicopters against moonlight
Our holy mother of the midnight
And if we live forever, let us live forever tonight
It was a perfect “ending,” with The Bluebird crowd singing along, who—as you might have guessed—went wild as the band left the stage. Five-hundred plus people can make a lot of noise when they want more music, and the band was soon back on stage to preform their expected encore, starting with “Lost and Found”, the official remix of Lost & Found from Tyler Lyle’s album The Native Genius of Desert Plants.
The Midnight knows how to please its fans from beginning to end, and of course, ended the show with “Sunset” (as you can see, the music inspires a plethora of fan-made videos featuring 80’s movies). Anyone who grew up in the 80’s—or anyone who loves 80’s music and movies—cannot help but be drawn into that song’s buoyant expression of hopefulness. Watching The Midnight perform, it was clear they love what they do, they love their music, they love the 80’s, they love their fans, and they understand the power of nostalgia.
So when the last notes of “Sunset” faded and the house lights came up, I was saddened there wasn’t just one more song. One more song to keep us there for another four or five minutes. One more song to keep us all suspended in an alternate world of optimism, togetherness, and positivity.
Because unless you are living under a rock, the “real world” seems to be sorely lacking in all of those things. The Midnight fans standing shoulder-to-shoulder in The Bluebird on September 22 were lucky enough to witness a transformative concert and remove themselves from the real world for a couple hours. They were there together, each one optimistic and positive, and each one celebrating the past to make better days today.
We here at The Nostalgia Diaries are still applauding.
Steve is a lawyer, writer, and the lucky father of three amazing boys. Here at The Nostalgia Diaries, his goal is to help readers focus on the important things, and wants everyone to celebrate the past to create better days today.
At The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.
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